Aug 16 2013

Parasites

Heartworm disease was first diagnosed in our area many years ago and is well known as a serious parasite. Thanks to good preventive products, the number of cases has reduced significantly but we still see a few positive cases every year in our area.   Untreated animals and wild life act as an ongoing reservoir. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and is most commonly found in dogs.

Heartworm disease is an uncommon disease in cats, but is increasing in incidence, and found in all areas where we find heartworm in dogs. In the cat, symptoms associated with heartworm infection are non-specific. Heartworm causes a sudden onset of coughing and rapid breathing, weight loss and vomiting, symptoms that are also associated with several other, more common, diseases in the cat. Occasionally a cat that is infected with heartworms will be found dead, and the diagnosis will be made on a post-mortem examination because there are no viable tests available for cats. While there are no suitable tests for cats at the moment, prevention will ensure your cat stays safe.

Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young kittens and puppies. Hookworms can cause anemia and roundworms can lead to poor growth and development. Intestinal parasites are only occasionally life-threatening in adult cats and dogs, and are usually the cause of disease in debilitated animals or those that are immunosuppressed but all mature animals can be carriers for internal parasites and  contaminate their surroundings. Infective larvae and eggs can remain viable in the environment for long periods of time and are particularly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.

If the infective eggs of Toxocara  (Round worms) are swallowed by people, the larvae can invade the tissues and become encysted in various organs. Humans act like any accidental host. If a young child ingests a large number of infected eggs, clinical disease may become apparent. It has been found to cause blindness and encephalitis in contaminated children.

Because of the risk of roundworm infection in humans, it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that all dogs be de-wormed monthly. Fortunaly the modern monthly heartworm preventives we recommend also prevent roundworm infections and are highly recommended for all dogs and cats.
The best environmental treatment is prevention. Remove your dog’s feces as soon as possible and bring a yearly fecal sample for testing.

For more information, discuss with us what preventive is best suited for parasite control for your cats and dogs. Give us a call and together we can find the best parasite prevention for your pet adjusted to his specifics needs.

mflynn | Health Care, Heartworm

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